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John King USA

News/Business. John King. Daily political news and stories.

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Gadhafi 15, Us 8, U.s. 6, Washington 6, Rick Perry 6, Obama 6, Cialis 6, United States 5, Nato 5, Tripoli 4, Perry 4, John 3, David Gergen 3, Ronald Reagan 3, John Mccain 3, Siemens 2, New York 2, Dell 2, Ivan 2, Fred Thompson 2,
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  CNN    John King USA    News/Business. John King.  
   Daily political news and stories.  

    July 18, 2011
    4:00 - 5:00pm PDT  

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i don't think that they should have to think about breast milk. >> reporter: what natural part of life will they simulate next? by the way, the breast milk is being reduced to 69.99, batteries not included. >> i will burp you but i won't nurse you. >> jeanne moos, cnn. world report is next in north america. jong king usa starts right now. >> thanks, wolf, good evening. president obama will have the upper hand now. we'll show you why the white house is worried that the president would buy the bigger price in the long term if no deal is reached soon. tonight, exclusive cnn diplomatic effort to get moammar gadhafi to step down.
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several high level gadhafi regime officials lead by the u.s. ambassador who was recalled from tripoli when the uprising began five months ago. the meeting was to deliver this blunt mess rage. gadhafi has no choice but to yield power. these u.s. officials tell me no additional meeting is planned because gadhafi must go was clearly delivered. but a gadhafi spokesman in a conversation with our ivan watson had a different take. >> this is the first step and we welcome any further steps and we are prepared to talk war and explain what is happening in libya. we don't want to be in the community. >> who participate? >> if i may, you know, it's not the time to name people but, you
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know, it's a first step dialogue, okay. >> but it was direct face-to-face in indonesia on saturday? >> yes. >> ivan watson with us live from the libyan capital. ivan, fascinating reporting there. what was the answer when the united states delegation, as i'm told, he has to go. it's nonnegotiable. he has to go soon. i assume the libyans want to drag this out. >> reporter: well, in that conversation, gadhafi government spokesman said that the libyan side took his time to try to explain their position to deny many of the accusations against gadhafi and the security services claim that they were human rights abuses. so we're hearing two completely different versions here. i didn't hear anything at all about a message being delivered that gadhafi had to step down and that the regime here in
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tripoli has been vehement about this that if that is going to be a precondition from the u.s. and its allies and nato before negotiations can take place. but this was a three-hour meeting, john, according to the state department. officials have spoken to us. and if they were just giving one clear blunt message, gadhafi had to step down, clearly a bit more than that was discussed at that meeting. >> and ivan, as we watch to see whether it continues, or whether it was one meeting in the u.s. and regime, some developments on the military campaign, including the first-time bombing of one target. tell us about that. >> reporter: that's right. the fighting is grinding on here. we're into four months of nato bombing. earlier this morning before dawn tripoli international airport was hit. a precision attack on a radar station there that nato says was
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being used to detect nato warplanes and libyans denying that completely saying that it was a sichl general target. the fifth day of fighting now in the eastern strategic oil town of brega where rebel fighters have been trying to attack gadhafi forces. they have run up against mind fields and have suffered casualties and today the government saying that they have killed up to 500 rebels who they say were able to attack in waves in the sea in small boats. that battle appears to be going on from both sides with disputing claims about who is in charge of that key town, the tripoli government, john, they are saying that they will turn braga into hell rather than let it fall into the hands of their enemy. >> more tough rhetoric from the regime. live tonight from tripoli, thank you. today's disclosure from this
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meeting comes nearly four months into the bombing campaign. fred townsend is a member of the external advisory board in 2010 and the senior fellow at the hoover institution at stanford university. the united states thought it was important to deliver this message r there risks that clearly now think there may be future conversations? >> to your point with ivan, it's in their interest to play this out. by the end of september, the current authorities that permit the nato bombing may expire. they want to play this game as long as they can. it's interesting that they would not name which libyan officials were there because that's very important. >> that's a key point whochlt
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was there? let's assume the united states was telling us the truth. they were blunt. they said he has to go soon, it's nonnegotiable. dot libyans at the table go back and deliver that same message to gadhafi? >> no. because what the libyans think that s that the bizarre is open. once you get the customer intent, that's the libyan way. that's the gadhafi way. the man has been around for a long time and has committed massive crimes against the ungs and still negotiated with him. he's now a war criminal. the international court has an indictment for crimes against humanity. what exactly do you have to offer this bandit. i don't think this report will mean much. >> so do you think it's a good idea? the idea is that they went to the for the first time represented the transitional counsel and a legitimate government of the libyan people and they decided to relay that face-to-face so they understood essentially, we've moved on, you
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have no choice, you must go, we must take your money and give it to them. >> john, we didn't have to sit down with gadhafi representatives to do that. we didn't do that in syria. it was very clear in the statement. we're not tied to him. he's not necessary. the fact is, you can make a very clear statement publicly and have it stick without sitting down face-to-face. there's an error of legitimacy that i convey sitting down face-to-face with him while he's still in power. >> do you think it's a mistake? >> i think what is really important is the meeting in istanbul and recognition of the transitional council. we have made it clear that we recognize these people and the question is, are we going to give them access and it would change the terms to gadhafi and the people of ben benghazi. this other stuff is really just vapor, in my opinion. >> but how do you judge -- how would you draw a threshold where you say the united states handled this right when?
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or how? >> well, the question is going to become, what are the results of it? what are the consequences of it? john, if we were to say that all of a sudden this meeting gadhafi left power, that meeting was a success, it was worth it, i think it's unlikely and i think it's likely to have no effect on gadhafi's thinking or reasoning or whether or not he stays in power. >> fred, thank you so much for coming in. today's disclosure of the meeting comes four months into obama campaign and months after the air rib spring in egypt. we had reports that mubarak was in a coma and then that he was out of coma. a bit earlier i spoke to the middle of the uprising and people on the streets do not trust that these reports anything at all the government tells them or the lawyers tell them at all. >> i think the lawyer's
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statement was to test the public's reaction. if people believe the trial is two weeks away and some don't even believe that mubarak is even hospitable anymore. and we've been deceived and lied to for years so now we question everything we hear. we've been extremely letdown by the military. >> if the goal was to generate sympathy in public opinion, forget the trial, then that failed? >> these statements have been met with ridicule, people are fed up with lies, john. >> and do the people trust the new government, the transitional government, the military government, essentially v. to put president mubarak on trial?
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>> it's been five months and very, very little has happened on the ground. nothing has changed. none of the goals of the revolution have been met. the regime is still very much there. and that's why the protesters have been there since friday the 8th and they have bound to stay foot until there is real change. until the reforms happen. still ahead, governor rick perry will decide if he enters the presidential race. and the markets were nervous today. gold was soaring. why? because concern of the u.s. maxing out on its credit line
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the markets are getting a bit nervous.
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the dow industrial, s&p 500 and nasdaq and gold settled at a new high of $2 an ounce because of the uncertainty over a possible default. moodys suggesting that the debt ceiling should be eliminated to avoid "stability and" and the president met with house speaker john boehner and eric cantor but no deal. the house will spend time whether cutting the balance bill and whether it will veto. joining me is mark zandi and. we talked last week that if it got more serious in washington the markets would get skittish. was today a beginning of nervousness? >> yeah, i think so. i think with each passing day that we don't get an agreement, investors will start to grow increasingly nervous.
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stock prices will continue to grow south, ultimately interest rates will start to rise. and if we don't get an agreement in the next couple of weeks, the markets will be in turmoil. >> americans say yes, it's absolutely essential that we get a deal before we reach august 2nd and 39% of americans say we could pass the deadline and, in their view, not have economic turmoil. why the mixed message? are people just doing this for their political presence? >> we've never been here before. why would we ever want to take the chance of what would happen to interest rates and competence in america if we end up having to decide which bills we're going to pay, which ones we're not going to pay. what the debt bond holders don't have to worry about is the 14th amendment. we're spending $14 billion a day. somebody is not going to get paid on time.
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>> mark zandi, we can pass august 2nd and it won't be a big deal. i'll give you a few seconds to look them in the eye and say, you're wrong. >> yeah, i think you're wrong. now, of course, i don't know for sure. this is unprecedented but there is a $23 billion social security payment due on august 3rd that is not at all clear that there will be enough cash in the treasury to make that payment. so i think david is right. why would you want to take that chance? tp doesn't make sense. not for the social security recipients or for the economy or entire global financial system. >> david walker, the president meets with speaker boehner over the weekend and they are clearly not making any tangible progress. the house will go forward this week and senate will most likely vote on a balanced budget amendment and some other things that simply, to be honest, can't pass or even if they did pass the president would veto.
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they will move to the mcconnell plan and convince the republicans that they have your vote. do those votes undermine confidence in the market in a deal that might be reached? >> well, i think the markets know that those are not going to pass. you have to have two-thirds of the house and senate and the state that's not going to happen. it's preconditioned to something more substantive. the leaders have all said that they are going to raise the debt ceiling on it. the president has been calling for that. what kind of substantive dealer are we going to get? are there going to be budget controls for mechanisms and significant cuts that would be viewed as being credible by the rating agencies and by the american people? that's the real question. >> and mark, moodys today is saying, let's get rid of this idea. let's not have a debt ceiling and let the politicians get involved here. i don't see congress getting involved here in the short term. is it just because of this show down that it's necessary or a cumulative effect? >> well, i think that we've had trouble with the debt ceiling vote many times in the past and
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i don't think it's a very productive process, as we can see. so i'm very sympathetic of the idea to get rid of this debt ceiling debate altogether. having said that, i am hopeful that through all of this pain right now that the policy makers will come together and provide some meaningful deficit reduction. we're not going to solve our problems and at least make a down payment on those problems so there might be something good that comes out of that debate process. >> all right. you say meaningful. how dot markets describe meaningful? >> a ten-year reduction, 1.5, $2 trillion, that is what is expected in the marketplace. if you've got 4 trillion, that's the goal that we set for ourselves and it's the aproop pree ate goal. the markets would be off and running. i think that would be wonderful if we got nothing, that would be
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a problem because investors wouldn't like it and i'm sure the rating agencies wouldn't either. >> david walker, do you see a reasonable plan, perhaps behind the curtain right now because they are still pointing fingers at each other, is the mcconnell plus as i call it, the power to raise the debt ceiling and then congress names this commission that comes up with a package of cuts and vote up or down s. that a viable alternative, in your view? >> that's not credible in and of itself unless there's some type of trigger and mechanisms based upon deficit reduction and gives us more than the 1 to 1.5 trillion. by the way, the come back america initiative that lays out fiscal frameworks to show our way forward. one is 3 trillion plus in cuts over and 6 trillion plus in cuts over ten years. stay tuned. there's a way forward. >> we'll watch for that way
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forward. david and mark, appreciate your time tonight. good to be with you. thank you. still ahead, why the upper hand in this debt debate now does not necessarily mean long-term political gain for president obama. first, a key whistle blower in the news of the world phone hacking scandal is found dead. but my data is doubling. my servers are maxed out. i need to think about something else when i run. [ male announcer ] with efficient i.t. solutions from dell, doug can shift up to 50% of his company's technology spend from operating costs to innovation. so his company runs better, and so does doug. dell. the power to do more.
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welcome back. here's the latest news that you need to know right now. a key whistle blower turned up dead in his home today.
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police called his death unexplained but not suspicious. murdoch's now defunt newspaper, editor encouraged reporters to hack into voice mails. the son's website is down on the security and taking credit. here in the united states, borders cannot find a buyer for its remaining 399 stores so it will liquidate, costing almost 11,000 jobs. still to come, the washington post and david gergen dissect president obama's handling of the debt crisis. and, next, 40u your confidence level of the economy impacts the president's re-election odds. you name it. i've tried it.
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trust and politicians are not words that seem to fit much in the same sentence these days. but when it comes to deficit spending in the country's borrowing limit, the numbers signature that obama has the upper hand. a new poll shows that 71% of americans disapprove of how congressional republicans are handling the debt ceiling negotiation. take a look at the numbers that are more evenly split. combine your current mood and history and what you see is that the president cannot afford for this showdown to end in a way that causes any more pain. i'm going to walk over the wall and show you -- first, it's your
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move. this is a consumer driven move and this is from the university of michigan. in may the economy has struggled, come back down. this is where we are right now in july. 63.8. remember that number. 63.8. because the average that it takes to win, the incumbent, the election is not until november. the incumbents that have won the average consumer confidence level have been in the 90s and the others below that, this is where we are today. at that number the history would show that president obama would lose. or here is one way to look at it. the incumbents, carter, george w. bush, here they are, they lost. below 80, lost, clinton, close to 100, george w. bush, above 90. where will the president be? right now, remember, he's in the 60s. another way to look at it is the economy is growing. they make the obama reagan comparison. he wanted an easy re-election.
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however, if you look at this, by the time reagan started to run for re-election, the company was starting to grow the year before the election. look at this. 9.1, 9.3, 8.1% growth, 8% growth, 7.1. a tough recession but as ronald reagan geared up to run the election over here, the economy was booming. president obama cannot be so confident. the only comparison that we have so far, 1.9% so far this year and reagan had -- will the president get growth anywhere like this. there's not an economist that thinks the economy will bounce back like that as the president runs for re-election. one last way to look at it, october, a way out, january the year before the election, president obama actually in slightly better shape than president reagan but because of the economy, president reagan ended up in election day, 2010, that is the key question.
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republican nicole wallace, veteran of the bush white house and john mccain presidential campaign and the 2008 president obama campaign and key battle ground states and contributor, founding member of the group, no labels. i want to start with the democrat on the table. when you look at that, the very sober economic numbers. so even though the president might now be in the right place the white house thinks, he's the grown up in the middle, if we get to default, unemployment goes up and markets get jittery. this president, even if he has the upper hand in this debate, could lose re-election? >> i think there's no question that the economy is the most important question on the table. the americans say it's the most important issue and even as the news is focused on the budget debate, 7% of the voters are saying that the deficit is the most important issue facing us. but i think that part of the reason that republicans are content to have the budget debate right now, as opposed to the debate in the economy, is because of the proposals in the
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2012 election looked like the policies that got us into this mess in the first place. i think if voters understand that it took less than eight years to get us into this mess, it's going to take us longer than a few years to get out of it. >> it's an optimistic view of how voters treat incumbents. i understand. but i asked you, to the best of your ability here, someone who has worked in the white house, you're a republican, someone who has worked in the white house and has had to look at economic numbers and look at the polling data, they can't expect the growth that ronald reagan had, the consumer confidence that reagan had. do they just have to make the case that we're filling in the ditch, it's not as deep as it was when we got here? >> the heaviest burden that president obama is going to carry in his attempts to be re-elected is his own record. we're having a debate mostly consuming washington about raising the debt ceiling. but his record -- and you see republicans increasingly threading all of these things together. part of the reason why we're in
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this situation and part of the reason that we're out of money is because of the massive stimulus that he passed. he had no appetite for congress then. republicans like john mccain called it generational theft. then he passed obama care in the 2010 elections with a referendum on this massive election on the federal government and i think republicans feel like if they hold up the reality, they are 20 million americans unemployed or employeed, that obama is going to be in a weaker position than his historical -- the folks that you held him up against. >> do you take the long-term pressures of this president, as a president he can't afford a hit from the economy. how do you overlap his thinking where he is going to be with what he needs to do today? >> there's no question that they tend to live or die by the economy. there's one big problem, which
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is elections are compared to propositions and president obama record can't beat him at the polls. a republican has to beat him at the polls. americans are doing better than any specific candidate speaks to the republican field. that's the reality. and that is to some extent. he can say things are getting better than when i got in. people blame the bush administration more than the obama administration but it's going to be a head to head match up and right now it doesn't look so good for the republicans. >> if you look at the poll of the debt ceiling, it's like so many other issues, even though the president says it's a huge national debate and to nicole's point, for the impact on the economy, if you look at the polling, democrats are here with the president, republicans don't. then you get to august 2nd vea a default, so what, who cares, more agree with the republican position than huge economic damage. why is that? it's just a political trust deficit? do we live in a world where you are a republican and a democrat
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says it it can't be true? >> well, i think we live in a world in which most americans are concerned with how they are going to pay their bills than the debt ceiling which is an he is sew tear rick issue. you see in a lot of issues that people haven't really considered a great deal. the question matters a lot. if you ask people whether or not we should be raising the debt limit, you're going to get a different answer than whether or not we're defaulting on the united states' obligations. >> go ahead. >> when people say it's the question phrasing, they are usually trying to avoid the obvious. in independents care about the economy overall. independents can't say that they are going to blame republicans if we blame republicans for the economy more than president obama. so even though he's under water, he's still comparatively a good thing. >> the single place where the independent voters in this country most closely and passionately align with not just
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the establishment of the republicans but the tea party is on the size and the cost and rapid expansion of the federal government. so republicans have a philosophical discussion about the size and the role of federal government and american life. there's no way for obama to come out on top. >> it's an interesting point that you make. the last election that we had was 2010 midterms. you run into people like in new york city where it's more liberal than where we are with the rest of the country. >> you think? >> i think. they say, what are these republicans up to? how could they possibly think that they could have us default? however, if you're one of these new tea party minutes, you were just elected, some of them overwhelmingly so, in races in which they said that they were going to do this. and so you could take their political promise and match it up against the debate at the moment and that's why you have this in washington. >> they also ran for the left of democrats on medicare, saying that they were going to save the program and then voted to end it. if you want to talk about where voters are on issues, 20% of the
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voters want to balance the budget with spending cuts alone. they are willing to tank our entire economy over. that's not just the democratic position. that's an independent position as well. >> i think they are going to see that he's never advocated any cuts or any specific entitlement reform that he is for. if you treat voters that they are stupid and not going to get to the truth, you pay a price. the poll numbers are temporary. >> they did not vote for default. anyone who has a credit card, i can understand the results of that. what happens is, you don't pay your bill if you get deeper in the hole. >> at that point, i don't think any of the politicians have explained it like that. >> right. >> every family has done this at some point in the last two years, and now washington has to deal with it. everybody stay put. governor rick perry suggests that he's being called to a higher ambition. how his appeal among
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rick perry tells me a republican candidacy is more likely than not but insists that the final decision has been made. a second source says the would-be campaign and polling research before decision time. but to hear perry is to hear a candidate leaning in with the language that some might find appealing.
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here is what he said over the weekend. quote, i'm getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what i've been called to do. that this is what america needs. smart language or presumptuous? as a republican who has navigated the evangelical politics, you had an appeal and then with john mccain you did not. that language, the calling language, governor perry tonight, i want to read this. governor perry saying i'm a man of faith. i don't make any apologies about my man of fact. my mother may call me for dinner. so he's saying that he's not overtly but when they use that language, people connect the next dot and say he's trying to speak to evangelicals, right? >> well, i think we fail to understand that this can be compelling. it's not that they understand the language of cutthroat politics but speaking to them in terms of what you're called to do, based on your faith, is powerful and i think we're going
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to have a real race on the right about who can speak the language and, more importantly, who can walk the walk, not just talk the talk. >> you criticized the field. said there's a hunger for those in the field. i mean this no disrespect to governor perry. but we go through this every cycle. to use two words, fred thompson, he was the next ronald reagan that he got in the next time on one night by beating mike huck a ka b huckabee and i don't think he will be another fred thompson. i don't. it's a game changer rather than a field changer. i think he will soak up the support being split among a number of candidates that have failed to distinct wish themselves and i think it would very quickly become a rick perry-mitt romney race. but in all seriousness, it can
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help in south carolina. independent voters are the least religious segment. whether he adds something in the field or does the latter, there's still opening in the center right. >> is the democrat watching knowing that the map will be different and tougher for obama in 2008? when you look at rick perry, you have a field that is out there and then a rick perry that might get in, who do you worry about the most? >> well, first of all, with rick perry, i think that there are a lot of americans that understand that language. i don't know that that is necessarily a liability for him. i think that a bigger liability is that as democrats we expect the proposal coming out in 2012 are going to look a lot like the policies of the bush era. it would be too much to ask almost for the messenger of those policies would be another governor from texas. >> sounds very similar.
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>> who sounds irly similar. >> there is going to be a lot of attention to social issues. there's less of a line between fiscal and social conservatives. >> this has been a field day, for the most part so far, unless there are questions, for the most part, some of the appeals to evangelicals and male pieces that they are, they are talking about the economy and they are talking about jobs and the deficit. rudy giuliani, who may run again, i tend to think not, he's flirting with it. listen to him talking to our candy crowley. he was in new hampshire again. he likes to go up there every now and then. he has a giuliani social moderate has a message for the rest of the republican field. >> i think that marriage should be between a man and a woman and i think that the republican party will be well advised to get out of the bedrooms and get these things decided by states and the reality is that this is
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something that the new york decided by a democratic vote. i think it's wrong but there are other things that are wrong by democratic vote. >> do you really see this issue bubbling up in this republican race? new york did what it did? >> michele bachmann is running as a social conservative and i think rudy was actually making a very honest and important point that someone should make, which is that for all of the lib better tear general, how about consistent conservatism on that front? how about saying, we may disagree with that, but let's not get the government out of the people's bedroom or the board room. a lot of people nod their heads and they are proud to do it. >> look, i think that -- i happen to agree with him. i think there's an argument to be made that a conservative position is to leave them to the state. so it is an issue along with the
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two parties. i think the point that rudy is really getting at is that times are so serious, we should move off of this. people keep suggesting that republicans are right on the bush policies. the time is so different. and the deficit is massive. we fought two wars and are in two countries. i think that democrats are fuel foolish to think that we're running on a smaller government. >> tim pawlenty is running on that. >> they are running on growing our way out of the deficits which a lot of people think is a pretty good idea. >> if the economy would keep on growing. i asked nicole to try, if she could, put her republicanism
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aside. did you see anybody there who you identify as new, as different? and not just how they look or what they say? >> i think the question is less who the republican field is now and more who they are going to be once they come to a primary. i think the question is whether they are going to be able to deliver that message that nicole a majority of the tea party want to compromise on the deficit and you want this view and this is why we go state by state. jeff, john, nicole, thanks for coming in tonight. when we come back, the president and debt talks being held closely here and around the world. the washington post, cnn david gergen's and a lot is lacking in his approach. we'll get their take next. hey ! chocolate, vanilla or strawberry ? chocolate ! chocolate it is ! yeah, but i'm new, too.
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as it is debt debate plays out, president obama's every move is closely watched, and his leadership style closely anal e analyz analyzed. david ignatius described this is this way. the world looks to america at times like this. governments and business leaders want a basic framework so they can make decisions. what they get too often from the
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obama white house, too often, is silence. david, that column, there is something that the president said that caught your eye, or better put, caught your ear, at his friday's news conference. let's listen. >> we are running out of time. i said to the members of congress, you need over the next 24 to 36 hours, you need to give me some sense of what your plan is to get the debt ceiling raised through whatever mechanism you can think of, and show me a plan of what you're doing for deficit and debt reduction. if they show me a serious plan, i'm ready to move. even if it requires some tough decisions on my part. >> david ignatius, you said the president sounded custodial. 72-plus hours later. the congress has not shown president a plan. why custodial? >> i thought that film clip you just showed is a perfect example of the way in which this
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president isn't using the office of president to communicate with the american people, the congress, and be a leader. we're facing a real national crisis. the notion that it's okay for the president to say, i'm sitting here waiting for congress to give me something that i can act upon, just seems to me to be insufficient. and the more i looked at areas of foreign and domestic policy that i follow, i saw the same phenomenon of the president really not articulating a clear vision, not speaking over the heads of noisy, washington chorus that we're all part of, to connect with -- with the public and to get things done. >> david gergen, do you agree with that? remember, i'm not sure this president has much of a choice given the politics of the moment. we were promised made we led ourselves to believe we would get a transformational presidency, and it seems we have a transactional presidency.
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where he goes from deal to deal. whether it's to reduce troop levels in afghanistan or work out this budget deal. >> you just implied something. a leader, to lead well, has to have followers. and right now, congress is a pretty cantankerous bunch. it's hard to lead under those circumstances. that said, i think david ignatius is on to something very important. the way this president has chosen to lead consistently right from the beginning does not fit the normal pattern we have seen in the past, after all, his formative experience as a leader was as a community organizer, and as a community organizer, you tend to lead from behind, the famous phrase now, you tend to herd people along, and that's a style he brought to the white house. it doesn't fit our stereo typical sense or the hunger people have for a leader who is out front, visionary, brave, that says this is where we ought to go and fights in the arena to
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get it done. and americans have had a very hard time adjusting to this very different style, which was i thought exemplified by that clip that david ignatius pointed out. >> what is it in his style, character, that leads to you see this? and i want to quote from your column. "the bow yam white house is blessed in having such an irresponsible republican opposition in congress. as the debt limit day of reckoning approaches, the gop will pay for its reckless, roundhouse swings. but the president needs to start acting like a fighter and a leader, rather than a punching bag." we don't want a president that's a pumping bag. >> we don't. watching the debt limit debate and people really assault the president, this very corrosive debate that we have the -- what's required is -- is for the president to find forceful language to lead the country on issues that matter to people.
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i'm struck by the increasing breakdown of some of our political institutions. they are just not solving the problems that people care about. you can say that's the fault of a cantankerous congress, but american history shows that in many -- i'd say even most periods, we've had a very noisy, cantankerous leadership. now is the time to find a way to govern over the heads of all of those noisy people, all of the journalists causing you trouble. it's not impossible. it's difficult. this president has a very dry, austere reticent style, and my sense increasingly, it's not sufficient for the challenges he faces. >> he doesn't like the word, some use, professorial. you have been in the white house for four u.s. presidents, david gergen. does it matter a week from now, if he gets a pretty good deal.
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does it matter in the end, if in the end, he gets a significant reduction deal? >> well, obviously it matters a lot less and i think we'd all give him credit for having woven his way into the position, but it doesn't look like he's going to get there i think the chance of getting that vision that he did present two or three weeks ago has finished. i don't think he's going to get it any time soon. he may get -- he'll get a patch, so i -- i think david ignatius' point still holds. one other aspect of the column worth bringing attention to. he raises the question about a second term and ordinarily the president seeking election by this time has thought through his agenda, and the campaign will lay out some sense of where he's going, what he wants to do. the american people right now are having a hard time figuring out if we do re-elect the president, and there is a good prospect we will still. 50/50, if not higher, what is it
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he's going to do? i don't think this same style will work in a second term. and second terms are notoriously tougher than first terms and this style has not worked particularly well and it would work even less well in a second term. he needs to change his style. >> i want to close on this one, david ignatius. you say the world is watching this debate, and the president campaigned on the theme that after all of the controversies on the global stage, particularly the iraq war, that he will redefine america's image, the role of the american president. has he failed that test? >> well, i think he initially had some success and give credit where credit is due. the united states is much less unpopular overseas today than it was during the bush presidency. the polls all show that. i do hear increasingly what i quoted one prominent foreigner who i was talking last week saying and that is tell us what you